To go along with Lori's suburban homestead journal, i thought i'd start a journal for me. I encourage all of you to start your own thread!
I live a quarter mile from main street in a small town in AZ. I have a quarter acre property on top of a hill that has a few mature trees, a lot of tall brushy bamboo and a mobile home that is not liveable.
I fixed up a 150 square foot shed in the back and live in that. I put a tremendous amount of insulation in it to help conserve my heating and cooling bills.
I collect rainwater from the mobile's roof (a very low tech system that involves buckets set under the eaves). I collect grey water from the washer and sink to a hose that dumps into a bucket. In turn i dump that bucket on my plants.
I have a small herb and veggie garden, several fruit trees.
I do a lot of wild food foraging, since the edible weeds are everywhere and free.
This fall i'll be planting nut trees too. I do forage for nuts around my area.
I do a lot of clothes washing by hand (using a plunger) and line dry everything.
I am working on getting everything totally off the grid. Right now I am free from paying propane and trash, and have my water and electric bills down to less than a dollar above the 'service fee' amount.
I've been free from city water before, and after the monsoons this summer I might go there again. There really is enough free water for all my uses. Having enough barrels is the limiting factor.
I compost everything that can be broken down. I divert urine into a composting system too, and I barter with a hydroponics store for compost tea that I use as foliar feed in the garden.
I recycle everything. I create a very small baggie of actual trash each week that gets tossed in a gas station garbage can. Thus, no trash service fees. As for metal, I get cash for all the steel, aluminum, brass and copper I can gather.
I reuse everything I can think of. Today I just used grocery store plastic baggies as ties for my staked tomato plants.
I shop at thrift stores and free places, use craigslist and freecycle, exchange out used books for more used books, use the library, and read free and dollar ebooks on the free kindle app i downloaded on my smart phone.
I would like to learn to cut my own hair.
I buy a lot of things for free and nearly free with the so-called super couponing techniques. I also shop at farmer's markets and i go to food banks for the tons of free food that grocery stores otherwise would throw away.
I have my household watt usage down to a science and am constantly looking to find appliances with the least watts. I scour the thrift stores looking for them.
I walk for local errands in my own town, or for participating in town activities. I love not using my car! I'd love to not have to even have a car but i go camping too much for that.
There is no hot water heater in use here, which is an issue. I miss hot baths. I take warm splash baths with water i heat in the electric kettle, or take hot showers in several free places in town. My clothes are happy being washed in cold water.
I will make homemade laundry detergent when my supplies of premade stuff runs out.
I have a tiny pot bellied stove I will add to my studio before the next winter, and have a variety of low watt heat bubble systems I'm working on.
I've been able to get away with a fan system and my really good insulation in here on even 100 degree days. I'd love to not turn on the AC at all, and am documenting on this forum my techniques for staying cool.
I don't really cook, but am learning to preserve food. Mostly by dehydrating. Also I'm exploring solar cookers, hay boxes, root cellars and home brewing.
I don't use disposables, mostly. I have cloth TP, cloth menstrual pads, hand towels and microfiber cloths and save all my old clothing for rags, ties and other possible uses.
I'm having a lot of fun exploring solar gadgets and systems, and am of course documenting everything here.